My work group for Service Learning was Katie, Isaac, Hannah, and I. Our Service Learning partner was Mr. Yang. He is a tailor who is 63 years old. Mr. Yang is really interesting and has had an eventful life. He was 16 during the Cultural Revolution. Because of the Cultural Revolution, Mr. Yang had his education stolen away from him. He had gotten an education before, but had to resort to tailoring. He lives with his wife and has two daughters.
I learned that like Mr. Yang, some of the people here didn’t agree with Mao’s teachings. Though they respect Mao, they still remember the painful years the Cultural Revolution brought them. Mr. Yang also gave us advice about life. He told us how we should value our youth and education. I have seen that many kids in this century have forgotten about the horrors that elders have lived through. They just continue on in life and do not seem to appreciate the hardships that their grandparents have conquered.
For future Microcampus students, I recommend that you make connections right away. This way, you have an easier time finding a partner when the time comes. You should also be careful and make sure your partner was not already a Service Learning Partner before hand. This next part is very important. Do not put all the work on one person’s shoulders! I couldn’t do too much to help during this project (subtitles, editing, etc.), as I cannot speak Chinese. The whole project was practically done by one person, and the weight of this project brings a lot of stress with it. Though some people do not choose to not help, and they just cannot due to the language barrier, they can still help in other ways. Just try to look for those other ways you can help and you may relive them from some of the stress (dish duty, laundry, etc.).
When everyone’s Service Learning started filing in, things were pretty exciting. I was a little nervous but happy, as this was the end of all the stress. All the Service Learning partners seemed to be pals, as they all recognized each other and engaged in friendly talk. We all got our partners tea and offered them snacks. At first, only 3 people’s partners were there, so we didn’t start yet. But when the last partner arrived, the others greeted him, and again, everyone seemed to be friends.
Finally, Mr. T gave an introduction about what Service Learning was, and then we were off. The first group went up, and we all watched their video. The group who made the video had to sit in front and watch the rest of us watch their video. As the rest of the groups went by, our group was finally called up. Our video was the last one to be shown. My group walked up and sat in the front chairs facing the audience.
The experience of sharing out video was nice. Everyone was really focused on watching the video with looks of concentration. One of the other Service Learning partners was smiling and seemed to be enjoying his friend’s video. When our video ended, everyone clapped and Mr. T thanked all the partners for coming to see our videos of them. We then proceeded to escort out partner back to his home.